Palestinian rights groups warn against passing the ‘Facebook’ law in Israel Knesset

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Middle East Monitor  /  December 29, 2021

The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition (PDRC) and the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) today warned against the passing of a “Facebook Law” in the Israeli Knesset and its serious repercussions on Palestinian digital rights.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the coalition said it viewed “this law as a direct and grave threat to the rights to freedom of opinion and expression for Palestinians and others in the digital space, and an additional “legal” restriction to the already multiple limitations imposed on Palestinian voices and advocacy.”

According to the coalition, the proposed law will grant Israeli courts the power to demand the removal of user-generated content on social media content platforms that can be perceived as inflammatory or as harming “the security of the state,” or the security of the public.

They point out further that the court will have the power to issue an order to delete this content from social media networks. Furthermore, the law grants internet service providers the power to block websites for Israeli users on the pretext that they “incite and invite incitement,” and refer their owners for investigation on the pretext of “incitement.”

The statement read, “We in the coalition believe that such a law will constitute an additional tool for the efforts of the Israeli occupation to impose its control and tools of suppression in the digital space. The law will undermine Palestinian content and the digital activity of Palestinians.”

The coalition pointed to the efforts of the Israeli Cyber Unit to submit thousands of reports to social media companies to remove Palestinian content, which increased from 2,421 requests in 2016 to more than 20,000 requests in 2020.